General Strike of the Unemployed

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For years, after I had a few beers, I’d start rambling about how May Day needed a revival in the United States to anyone who’d listen. Of course, I am all talk and no action. I’m hoping Occupy Wall Street is organized enough to revive the day and itself, but we’ll see.

Also, it’s insane that general strikes are illegal in this country. We only have the right to redress our grievances with the government, not our bosses. That pretty much illustrates who’s really in charge.

Tax Credits for the 99 Percent

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As a single, self-employed, childless person who rents, I don’t get any tax credits or incentives come tax time. That’s bullshit. I’m poor too, you know.

Adding credits and deductions to the tax code doesn’t really address the underlying causes of income inequality, the largest of which is that wages are too damn low. Another one is that banks get to borrow money from the Fed at a rate that’s essentially zero, while charging us insane interest rates, making profits from nothing. But it keeps inflation down, which keeps our debts up, so it’s cool!

Personal Poverty Trainer

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This cartoon is my response to this whiny article from a couple weeks ago. Primary stuff and Snowe’s resignation kept me from doing a comic on it at the time, but the main guy from the article, Andrew Schiff, appeared on All Things Considered last week, and annoyed me so much that I had to come back to it.

The election circus, and slightly less-than-shitty jobs numbers have kept income inequality out of the news, especially with the dispersal of Occupy Wall Street, but it should always be front-and-center. If people don’t earn enough, they can’t buy shit, which is a huge hindrance to economic growth. Way more than some douche not being able to rent a beach house in Connecticut.

 

Occupy Action Items

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The encampments were/are important symbols, but the underlying message of the fucked-upedness of our financial system that they helped bring to to the forefront of national debate can be kept alive by other means that don’t result in a riot-cop’s boot stomping your face. Of course the suggestions in this cartoon are mostly tongue-in-cheek, but there are more sincere and practical analogs to most of the jokes in here.

One that I especially approve of is a debt strike, the real-life version of putting a negative number on your checks. Banks and corporations have been sitting on cash, refusing to lend and spend in what’s essentially a capital strike. It’s especially bad for the banks, since the money they’re not handing out, (All $8 Trillion or so.) was given to them by the Fed for free. Companies have reasons more than simple greed to hang on to that cash, since there’s no demand for anything they make in our broke country. Except for shitty vampire movies, apparently.

Anyway, the real point of this cartoon is to get you to help Save Community, and maybe, if you have some time after that, fight economic injustice.

29 Cent Book Bin

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Another late BFW. This one was supposed to be up on Friday, and was already written then, so it’s just an odd coincidence that it went up the day Bloomberg kicked out Occupy Wall Street. I was inking and coloring this during the whole eviction and jotting down a few ideas. Who knows if they’ll turn into a cartoon. I’m pretty fucking tired as I write this. They could all turn out to be incoherent garbage.

The only other thing I have to say about this cartoon is that the Heaven one is based on a real book. I browse the bestseller lists looking for material for this recurring bit, and was stunned to learn Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back has been topping the charts forever. I mean, of course it’s popular; people love feel-good garbage. I just mean it was off my radar, which is odd considering the author’s last name is Burpo.

Now to squeeze out a few nuggets of sleep before getting back into the cartooning grind.

Secrets of the Super Committee

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The Occupy movement has thankfully shifted the media’s and public’s focus on jobs and income inequality. But last summer’s ridiculous “debate” about the debt ceiling, where the GOP held the country and the global economy hostage to get its way, resulted in the formation of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, AKA The Super Committee. They’re supposed to reach to an agreement before Thanksgiving, or automatic cuts in defense and social services go into effect…in 2013.

Fans of war are shitting their pants at the prospect of cuts, although they’d only go down to 2007 levels. Remember 2007? Our military industrial complex was so tiny back then; only involved in two quagmires and who knows how many surveillance and assassination actions. Surely going back to that is the equivalent of turning the military into a ragtag group of militia men, who have more money than the rest of the world’s defense budgets combined.

And fans of of not living in a third world nation are equally pants-shitting about cuts to social programs, including myself. The whole charade was conducted to cut these programs, and Obama played along instead of pointing out the absurdity of the whole thing.

Yes, the deficit is a problem. But we are in the middle of the longest fucking recession most Americans remember. (OK great-grampa, you still win at Great Depressions, for now. We’re trying real hard to top you though.) Revenues were already thrown way out of whack by the Bush Tax Cuts and all that “pro-business” shit Clinton pulled. Throw in long-term 9% unemployment, and they drop precipitously.

We need growth, and the only way to do that is through government spending. The pittance we’re arguing about now is only enough to maintain our current shit-sandwich of an economy. Individuals and businesses are rightfully holding on to what cash they have, so government is the only entity that can make the unselfish decision to spend large amounts for the benefit of everyone else. Interest rates are at an all time low, and it’s a crime to not use that virtually free money to make much-needed investments in infrastructure, education, and anything else that will pay for itself through the growth and demand it creates.

I’m honestly not too worried if the Super Committee fails. Like the comic says, anything they do, or what happens if they fail to reach an agreement can be changed or nullified by a future Congress. It’s in the Constitution! John McCain’s already working on this solution to preserve his precious defense spending. And if you think the Occupy movement is big now, wait until this Super Committee super-shit hits the super-fan.

Oh, and check out Mark Fiore’s animation about the Super Committee. I’m glad I watched it before drawing this cartoon, not only because it’s funny, but I originally sketched the title panel to look like the Super Friends Hall of Justice.

Economic Executive Orders

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This was supposed to be Friday’s cartoon, but I had to put BFW on the back burner while I took care of that other comic that pays money. There will be another BFW posted on this coming Friday, or maybe Saturday morning depending on how things go. Either way, you’re getting what you pay for.

Since no piece of Obama’s jobs bill has any hope of getting through Congress, he’s been dabbling around the edges with executive orders. Pretty small stuff that will have no effect on the 9% unemployment that’s become totally acceptable to everyone who’s not hanging out in Occupy encampments.